According to the 2018 Census Bureau, 12.8% of the U.S. population has some type of disability. Included in that statistic are those who have impairments that impact accessibility of online websites, applications and documents.
These impairments include:
In our digital-first world, organizations’ websites, both internal and external, become the face and nucleus of the organization. And as organizations increasingly embrace diversity and inclusion, web accessibility has become a key component in the effort to provide equal access for people with diverse abilities.
Web accessibility is governed by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and guided by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The WCAG standards often are used as best practice — even by organizations that are not required to comply with Section 508 — to evaluate the structure, accessibility and operation of organizational web properties, or what is known as “web accessibility audit.”
Goodwill Industries International is the leading workforce development provider in North America, striving to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by helping people reach their full potential through education, skills training and the power of work. The company recognized the importance of web accessibility to its mission and wanted to be proactive in helping employees with disabilities engage with it online. When the organization needed to upgrade its intranet to Microsoft SharePoint 2016, it turned to Protiviti with a request to ensure that the upgraded site was fully accessible to all users.
The initiative was focused on improving the corporate SharePoint intranet that serves approximately 7,000 registered users. Employees use the site to access and share resources, best practices, toolkits, templates and learning opportunities, as well as to find directory information about locations and employees. The intranet holds special value for the small-to-medium-sized nonprofit Goodwill organizations in the U.S. and Canada, and 12 countries globally that rely on the site’s shared knowledge and best practices to supplement what they can achieve with local resources.
Goodwill’s constituency has a wide range of accessibility needs and thus, the website needed to be completely accessible to its diverse audience. Constituents include individuals who use screen readers and some who have mobility issues and cannot use a traditional keyboard or mouse.
Following a client-led user focus group that provided valuable insight into accessibility needs, Protiviti launched a web accessibility audit of the company’s SharePoint intranet site. As part of the audit, Protiviti assessed the organization, function, structure, accessibility, flow, feedback and other essential criteria
of the website. In the process, we uncovered more than 150 accessibility gaps and developed a categorical matrix to evaluate and prioritize each gap. Protiviti categorized the gaps based on how significantly they impacted users with disabilities and worked with Goodwill to prioritize items for remediation.
Key remediations included:
After the audit was complete, Goodwill asked Protiviti to implement all of the recommended remediations. This resulted in an accessible, award-winning intranet site. The upgraded SharePoint 2016 intranet, named “MyGoodwill,” was selected as one of the 2017 Best 10 Intranets by Nielsen Norman Group.
“Diversity is fundamental to Goodwill’s values, so it was important for us to be confident that our intranet was accessible for all of our users,” said Beth Perell, Vice President, Member Relations for Goodwill Industries International.
Perell added, “Protiviti analyzed our site and conducted individual user testing for people with disabilities. Then, they guided us in understanding the resulting user experience and accessibility reports, and advised us on setting priorities for fixes. Their work was not only a service, it was valuable knowledge-sharing that our team continues to use as we evolve our site.”
Goodwill’s new, fully accessible SharePoint 2016 intranet features:
Goodwill’s mission of diversity and inclusion also happens to be at the very heart of the Protiviti culture: The three “i’s” in Protiviti’s name represent the values of integrity, inclusion and innovation. This kinship of shared values with our client enabled us to fully embrace their mission, build a deep relationship and deliver meaningful results.
Susan Haseley, Protiviti’s Managing Director and Leader of Protiviti’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative, says: “At Protiviti, diversity and inclusion are a part of our DNA. We believe diverse and inclusive organizations shape the world from the inside out and we value our relationships with like-minded companies through the work we do each day. Our goal is that every individual, from a client with whom we collaborate to a member of our amazing team, has the ability to thrive through their association with our firm.”